MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The controversial Southwest LRT Green Line Extension will move forward after a key committee vote early Wednesday afternoon. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges was one of the opposing votes.
More than one hundred people showed up to voice their concerns about the plans on the table for the extension, which would delay the previous completion date by a year.
Before transportation planners voted on the newest part of plan, several people spoke passionately — from businesses to people in around the areas the trains would run through — and it became a question of economic growth versus quality of life.
The project, which would cost more than a $1 billion, will run 16 miles from downtown Minneapolis to St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie.
The project calls for building two shallow tunnels to be built in Kenilworth neighborhood corridor under the trail with light rail trains emerging for 20 seconds between them in a new LRT bridge over the channel between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles.
Residents there already have a freight line and don’t want both disruptions. Some living in the Minneapolis neighborhoods surrounding the lakes don’t want environmental impacts of the light rail system in their neighborhood.
Others argued this plan works to connect outer suburbs to the cities where people need public transportation and the growth in thousands of jobs the project promises.
If all goes as planned and all cities approve the project, the light rail system could be up and running by 2019.